Archive for August, 2008

Goin’ Back To Kathmandu

Well Bob Seger had that one right.  Brooke and I arrived back in Kathmandu about three hours ago in the torrential rain.  It’s the tail end of the monsoon season here in Nepal and we return four months to the day since we left. 

While we were jetting our way across the globe in the past 24 hours China has once again decided to close the borders into Tibet.  The news was not a total surprise but things are still confusing.  Another climbing expedition was granted permits to climb Cho Oyu but no visas to enter Tibet.  The contrary is also happening, visa granted but not the permit. In order to climb Cho Oyu one needs to have both in their possesion.  The climate and situation seems to change by the minute so we are still holding out a thread of hope.  But!  “Plan B” is also in place meaning a seven day trek through the Himalayas to Barunste.  This is all part of the sport of mountaineering as so many of these major peaks are in countries with difficult access.  It is what it is and we have to be flexible and learn to adjust.  Just the way we do when we are actually on a climb.  So although not the mountain I was prescribed to climb a few years ago, Barunste will give me the Himalayan experience and prepare me for bigger things in my future.

We drove from the Kathmandu airport to the Yak and Yeti Hotel in the heart of the city.  The once terrifying trip this time was familiar and the chaosis and intensity of the city brought a huge smile.  I’m back and I feel very much at home in this country.  When we arrived at the hotel I really knew it when all the bellhops greeted us and said welcome back!

Stay tuned as things seem to be changing rapidly.  Tomorrow we do a gear check and possibly head to the mountain Sept. 2 we just don’t know what mountain or in what country but hey, that’s what makes life interesting right?

Climb On!

“We’ll Cho Oyu!”

 

First off I can not stake claim for the title of this blog.  “We’ll Cho Oyu” was the name of Amy Beeton’s (my climbing partner and dear friend) team when she climbed Cho Oyu in August 2006.   But I just had to borrow it because Brooke and I are having quite the time just getting to Cho Oyu.  This coming Friday, Aug. 29 we once again head for Nepal and hopefully on to Lhasa, Tibet to commence our climb of Cho Oyu.  The Chinese have made our plans a tad difficult and the mountain, and country for that matter, has eluded us.  Hopefully three times will be the charm.  Brooke has been busy getting the technology prepared for the climb and we hope to have our own little internet café at base camp.  I find the technology surrounding the mountains and website far more daunting than the climbs so I will happily leave that up to her.  We do have 500 minutes on our satellite phone so if all else fails I will call Trish back here in Boulder and she will keep the website up and running. 

 

To Mr. Cleere’s new fourth grade class!  As I write this you are still enjoying the last few days of your summer vacation and by the time you are back in school I will be on the mountain.  You will have to meet me in person in October but I will be with you long before we meet.  Last year’s class, Carlos, Laura, Ray, Mateo and all the rest will fill you in and we will be climbing together!  You are in for quite the year as we will be going to not only Cho Oyu but Australia and in March we begin our attempt of Everest.  Are you ready?  So just like last year’s class we will greet one another in the traditional Sherpa gesture, hands clasped and head slightly bowed and we say “Namesta” – my soul, greets your soul!  Welcome to the mountains gang the view will be incredible.

 

So you are all reading this blog and thinking that perhaps I finally have everything in order and am not heading out the door in my usual fly by the seat of your pants fashion.  Oh so very wrong- for if it were any other way I wouldn’t be the Wendy everyone has come to expect.  I have been challenged by new equipment requiring hours familiarizing myself with settings on a new altimeter (this should make many of you laugh since you know I can’t change my watch from eastern time to mountain time without a great deal of trouble) I have a million obligations before I leave and am the recipient of an achievement award from the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, the ceremony taking place in September while I am on the mountain.  Someday I will manage to be in one place for a period of time but then again I would get antsy and drive everyone crazy and you would suggest I go out and find something to do right?

 

Enjoy the fall in where ever this finds you. I will be thinking of pumpkins and cider but will return to the first nip of winter.  Thank you once again to the hundreds who have taken the time to email me world wide.  I have heard amazing stories and am inspired by amazing things so many of you are doing with challenges.  I am humbled and I am blessed that in taking on my mission I have been afforded an opportunity to hear about so many of yours.

 

Yup, no matter what “we’ll Cho Oyu!”

 

Climb On!

Little Miss Muffit…..

 

Actually I didn’t know to be frightened away by the spider like Miss Muffit.  I didn’t even know there was a spider out there I should be frightened of.  I always figured I could out run them or squish them and I certainly have size over them so what’s there to be frightened of?

 

About ten days ago on a hot but beautiful Sunday Jen and I went for a nice long bike ride to Carter Lake. It was a great way to spend a Sunday and although the heat was tough we were out there early enough that we were home before it was oppressive.  Somewhere along that route through Hygiene and beyond I was nibbled upon.  No, more accurately I was cannibalized.  Chewed up and gnawed upon. Skewered, sautéed, fricasseed, tenderized and deep fried.  Whatever or whomever decided to take a chunk from my cheek certainly brought fast food to a whole new level.  Now back east along the northern beaches a voracious critter known as the Green Head descends upon innocent beach dwellers every summer.  Their bite is enough to keep you swaddled in towels and long sleeves for the season.  But their season is short lived.  Chiggers, horse flies, cattle flies all leave, or take, depending on how you want to look at it, their mark in the form of a huge red welt complete with a missing piece of flesh.  And after the squalor of Nepal and the infectious malaria laden mosquitoes in Tanzania I figure I’m a pretty hardy soul by now.

 

Not anymore.

 

Last weekend I attended a wedding and a gentleman came up to me at the reception and said, “I don’t want to scare you but you need to go to the hospital…now!”  You have got to be kidding- it’s a bug bite. It’s just particularly obvious on my cheek.  No, he was emphatic. I really needed medical attention because I had been bitten by a spider. Not just any spider, a Brown Recluse spider.  He was so knowledgeable because he had suffered a similar fate and had the scar on the side of his nose to prove it.  Now his wife joined in and offered to escort me to the nearest emergency room.  I graciously declined as I was happily downing my second Long Island Ice Tea (don’t let the name fool you) and planning to partake in a third.  It was a very hot day.  By Monday morning I knew this was no ordinary bug bite and by now sufficiently partied out I headed for the doctor.  Kind of wish I still had some of the Long Island Ice Tea in my system as the next twelve hours were pretty horrendous.  Blood work, tetanus shot, antibiotics and a visit to a plastic surgeon who wanted to do something far too frightening to recount.  I was wishing the spider had taken the chunk out of another cheek on the lower half of my body as I would have happily relinquished a portion to the doctor.  A second opinion finally calmed me down a bit but still necessitates constant medical attention and frequent trips into Boston to be checked.  Suddenly people are coming out of the woodwork who have also been bitten by this frightening beast.  One physician told me I would have been better off bitten by a tarantula as their venom is not as toxic.  Boy did I feel better knowing that.

 

I can now claim a new title.  I am arachnophobic.  Totally.  I stopped by a friend’s house and became a blithering idiot pointing and screaming at what turned out to be dog hair on his kitchen floor.  The bite is slowly healing and in time may go away completely.  My hope?  The spider in biting me contracted MS and is now hobbling around on seven legs and dragging the eighth.  Now that would be justice!

 

Climb On!

 

 


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.